By Jeremy McDonald
AURORA, Ore.– The North Marion Boys Basketball team has shown in the last two games, Thursday’s 53-52 defeat to Philomath and Monday’s game with Cascade, that they are able to compete with some of the best of the best in 4A after how the first loop through Oregon West Conference play went against the two squads. They shot the ball better and not rushing those shots, they improved on passing the ball and they stuck together as a team in their tough 74-57 defeat in the game.
A far improvement from that 76-45 game on January 27, as they had the game around ten for much of the game and had cut Cascade’s lead to single-digits on several occasions in the contest with their spurts and minor runs as they had the game within reach down 67-57 by the 1:22 mark before having to foul in the hopes to create enough possessions to complete the comeback.
“We didn’t get into our heads like we did in the last game,” Reece Hartenstein said of Monday’s game. “We played better as a team. Playing the best teams in (the) State…It gives us the confidence that if we can hang with those teams, we can hang with any team in the playoffs.”
Hartenstein had himself a second half as the sophomore hit three big three-pointers in the second half to go with Cole Hammack’s 15 second half points to help keep the Huskies afloat on their Senior Night. Hartenstein finished with 13 points while Hammack finished 27 points in the game. The Cascade offense had some balanced attack on the offensive side to back up their defense. And did they need it.
Landon Knox scored 21 points, 17 in the first half. Spencer Horne scored 15 points to go with 12 rebounds and Anthony Best scored 16 points, 13 in the second half alone as they went from the perimeter game in the first half to more of an inside post game in the second half. The offense looked primed and ready for the postseason.
The squad was locked-in with their mentality and worked as a team similarly as their opposition that helped aid them in finishing the win as their defense got clutch stops when they needed them, espically down the stretch. This game, too, showed to them as well one glaring hole that they can improve upon now getting ready for Newport Thursday for their own Senior Night before finishing the season Tuesday at Philomath and is ironically within their defense. Something that they hope practice can improve moving into their next game with the Cubs and into their rematch with the Warriors.
“Just locking in on defense. Just transition defense is what we struggle the most in and I think if we work on it in practice more, build and build we’ll get there,” Best starts. “We all wanted it (tonight). We had that dog mentality and we came out and finished it,”
North Marion finishes the regular season on the road at Sweet Home Thursday and Newport Tuesday.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald